The Worth of the Individual

 (Originally written January, 1995)

For what are you exchanging your life? If it is not for people, then you are paying too high a price. When we give ourselves to invest in other people, then we are investing for eternity, but if we give our lives for an organization, a job, an institution, a cause, or a program, then we are only focusing on the temporal. I have always loved my job, my church, and many fine organizations with which I have served. But, when I put the success of the cause or activity above people, then I am misguided.

We must work so that we can eat, but we must not give ourselves only for that job, that paycheck, or that bonus. If we give our lives sacrificially for a co-worker, a person working with a customer, or another who works with a vendor, then we are exchanging our life for people. Always put people first, and the profits will usually take care of themselves. Others may say that they won’t give themselves just for a job, but they sacrifice for a church or a charitable institution. Their focus may even be a school, a ball team, or a political cause. Whatever our focus is on, if it is not on people, then the results will eventually fade away.

Governments, companies, educational institutions, and even religious organizations will all eventually end. But the experiences that we have with the people in those organizations will live forever. Therefore, although I greatly enjoy the business world, my church involvement, my community concerns and my own personal activities, I should never put these worthy causes above people. My wife, Davidene, has always had a much better focus in this area than I. She will always put the individuals need above a scheduled meeting or activity. Her choice is already made, while I wonder about my previous commitment or what people will think.

So, choose to invest eternally. We as business leaders are always trying to focus on the important instead of the urgent.  That is a huge daily challenge.  But, the eternal is even more of a priority than the most profitable business deal.  Spend time and focus your energies on that spouse, parent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister. Make that phone call or plan that meal together. Pay attention to that co-worker, friend, widow, or young child that lacks attention. Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket of an institution-even a good one-but spread your life and your attention to people around you.

There are many examples of heroes who have given their lives in service for others—Mother Teresa, a favorite teacher, that neighbor who is always serving everyone else, or that co-worker who always has a smile and a listening ear. The greatest example of all was the Son of God. Jesus Christ came not to establish a Kingdom on earth or to build a religious institution, but He came to sacrifice His life for you and me. He knew that the only things that last for eternity are the souls of people, the word of God, and God Himself. He knew the worth of the individual, do you?

Focusing on People,

Kent Humphreys


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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